Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Habs Claim Blair Betts off Waivers

The Montreal Canadiens announced today that the club has claimed Blair Betts off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers.

Betts, 31, is a 6'3", 210 lbs left-handed fourth line center who excels in the face-off circle and on the penalty kill. He is in the final season of a deal paying him $700K this year. He is also a capable shot-blocker, replacing Tom Pyatt in that role.

Originally drafted 33rd overall by the Calgary Flames in 1998, Betts has played 477 NHL games split between the Flames, New York Rangers, and Philadelphia Flyers. Last season, Betts scored 5 goals and 7 assists in 75 games for Philadelphia.

As Andreas Engqvist had a disappointing training camp, this gives the team some fourth line depth. He will also take away some difficult penalty killing minutes from Tomas Plekanec and Scott Gomez.

There is one concern with Betts, which is word out of Philadelphia that he is struggling with a shoulder injury. To play his hard nosed style game effectively, he will certainly need a clean bill of health. Betts wore #11 with the Flyers, but given that it's taken in Montreal, he may opt to go back to the #15 he wore when in New York.

UPDATE: As we guessed, the Habs confirmed that he will indeed wear #15. Fans will be happy they can re-use their old Jeff Halpern or Glen Metropolit jerseys!

With Mike Blunden and Aaron Palushaj being assigned to Hamilton, and Jeff Woywitka on waivers to join them, the team had one open roster spot while Ryan White and Andrei Markov are on injured reserve.

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